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Best Albums & Songs of 2014 (So Far)

posted: June 20th, 2014 by Dave Trout

Many outstanding projects have been released in the last 6 months, but which ones have really stood out as "gourmet music's best"?  Recently our 10-member panel of critics weighed in on the music that has caught their ears the most.  Here are all the cited responses, in no particular order.  We hope this list sparks some new discoveries for your playlist.  [Music qualified if it was released between 12/1/13 and 6/1/14, and from a Christian artist/songwriter.]

  • Shadow Weaver - The Choir  ("Dreamy post-rock genius.")
  • As Sure As The Sun - Ellie Holcomb  ("A soothing balm.")
  • Almanac, No. 1 - Giants & Pilgrims  ("Amazing songs from the gut.")
  • Traveler's Hotel - Chris Taylor  ("Honest, artful, and moving music.")
  • Diamonds - Johnnyswim  ("Flawless... simple as that.")
  • Borderland - John Mark McMillan  ("Never sounded better.")
  • Love Is A Legend - Copperlily  ("Charm and artistry.")
  • Rivers In The Wasteland - Needtobreathe  ("Absolutely amazing. 11 stellar tracks.")
  • Tomorrow Forever - The Farewell Drifters  ("Greater lyrical heft & increased ingenuity.")
  • Death in Reverse - Jeremy Casella  ("Masterfully crafted and hope-filled.")
  • Prayerbook, No. 2 - Brian Moss  ("Beautifully written & performed.")
  • Daydream - Jillian Edwards  ("Pure delight.")
  • The Art of Celebration - Rend Collective  ("The most engaging worship album.")
  • Fading West - Switchfoot  ("Swelling, hooky anthems.")
  • Hope Tonight - Melanie Penn  ("Stunning voice and songwriting.")
  • Golden Days - Dave Barnes  ("More fresh than gimmicky.")
  • Calm Down, Everthing is Fine - Mike Mains & The Branches  ("Deeper. Confident.")
  • All Sons & Daughters - All Sons & Daughters  ("Deep meaninful worship.")
  • Sun and Shield - Peter Furler Band  ("Wit and intelligence.")
  • I Dream Of You - JJ Heller  ("As beautiful as ever.")


  • "Future Past" - John Mark McMillan  ("Soaring and transcendent.")
  • "The Broken Beautiful" - Ellie Holcomb  ("Captivated by the melody and message.")
  • "Until You Provide" - Andrew Osenga  ("We can all relate to.")
  • "Neighborhoods Apart" - The Farewell Drifters  ("Teeth-gritting passion.")
  • "White Knuckles" - The Choir  ("Will ring true.")
  • "My Sweet Lord" - Crowder ft. Emmylou Harris  ("Pure magic.")
  • "Wasteland" - Needtobreathe  ("A fantastic blue-soaked romp.")
  • "Transistor Resistor" - The Whistles & The Bells  ("Coolest testimony set to music.")
  • "Not Right Now" - Jason Gray  ("Poignant and vulnerable.")
  • "With You Now" - Ellie Holcomb  ("We need to hear this message.")
  • "Borrowed Clothes" - Levi Weaver  ("Fun with poetic depth.")
  • "Forgiveness" - Chris Taylor  ("Speaks of the journey we are on.")
  • "Great Are You Lord" - All Sons & Daughters  ("A convicting declaration.")
  • "Give Me Jesus" - Solveig Leithaug  ("Tenderly lilts.")
  • "I Dream of You" - JJ Heller  ("Emotional and authentic.")
  • "Let Us Run" - Arthur Wachnik  ("Radiohead-esque edge.")
  • "Brother" - Needtobreathe  ("Reminiscent of The Black Crowes.")
  • "Hosanna" - Page CXVI  ("Beautifully conceived recording.")
  • "Mercy Mercy" - Mercy Child  ("Down-n-dirty American fun.")
  • "Sink My Feet" - Jillian Edwards  ("Soaring, wistful melody.")
  • "Monsters Calling Home" - Run River North  (Hipster-sensitivity and literate lyricism.")
  • "You Won't Let Go" - Michael W. Smith  ("Irresistibly catchy and inspiring.")
  • "The World You Want" - Switchfoot  ("Reflection, hope, and justice mingled.")
  • "You Brought Me Back To Life" - Citizens  ("Catchy and fun.")
  • "I Wanna Be Free" - Ellie Holcomb  ("Exudes more soul.")
  • "Christ Be All Around Me" - Leeland ft. All Sons & Daughters  ("A career song.")

We invite you to listen to our audio feature of some of the best albums of songs over the last 6 months on UTR Episodes #283 and 284.  Now that you've heard from the critics... we want to hear from YOU.

What are the picks on these lists that you agree with wholeheartedly?  What are the albums and songs (within our qualificiations) that YOU would add to this list?

Comments (2)

Thanks so much for this list. There are several artists I would have never known about if it weren’t for these wonderful picks!

RevRalph 11:59 AM Tue, Jun 24, 2014

Good list. Only two on the album list I don’t agree with. As far as songs, I like that Choir song but think there are at least 4 better ones on the record. “What You Think I Am” and “The Voice of Every Creature Cries Out” in particular.

Shawnuel 04:16 PM Fri, Jun 27, 2014

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